Fourteen local tour organizers have been found using unlicensed or foreign tour guides and failing to notify authorities of their amended business licenses, the provincial tourism department said on July 8.
Half of those companies have been slapped with civil fines totaling more than VND160 million (US$7,143), whereas five companies were admonished, according to the department’s inspectorate.
A Chinese national, Li Ming, 57, was fined VND20 million (US$893) for working as tour guide without permit, and is now pending further sanction by the local immigration office.
In separate crackdown campaigns into such famous destinations in Khanh Hoa as Long Son Pagoda, Po Nagar Towers, Cau Da Wharf and Nha Trang Mountain Cathedral, tourism inspectors also caught five businesses as violating regulations, levying a total of VND49 million (US$2,188) civil fines on them.
The tourism department has also transferred four cases in which Chinese nationals breached the local law to the immigration office under the province’s police department. These foreigners were later fined VND40 million (US$1,786), had their visas canceled, and forced to leave Vietnam.
In the meantime, a travel firm, Silent Bay, had its license revoked as per a request by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism for using as many as 64 illegal foreign employees.
The crackdowns were launched at a time when an increasing number of Chinese arrivals are distorting the tourism environment in Nha Trang, as well as the central city of Danang.
In Khanh Hoa, six-month tourist numbers from China reached 200,000, 4.5 times higher than the first half of last year.
While Khanh Hoa has always been a popular destination for tourists worldwide, the city’s upward trend in popularity amongst Chinese travelers is definitely noticeable, with four out of ten international visitors to Khanh Hoa being Chinese.
However, rather than use local tour guides, as required by law, Chinese visitors are being guided by their countrymen who are illegally working in the tourism industry and stealing jobs from locals – an act that local authorities in Danang and Khanh Hoa have admitted is quite difficult to mitigate, leading to several negative impacts on the local tourism sector.